Monday, July 29, 2013

Pierre & Jean, Chagny

Sometimes a new restaurant gets everything right -- but rarely. I am delighted to say that Pierre & Jean, the bistrot across the road from its illustrious parent Maison Lameloise, is one of those rare examples. We visited Pierre & Jean on the recommendation of at least five different vignerons in Meursault and Puligny. We opted for the phenonmenallly good value weekday lunch menu for 29 euro. After trying the reviving house aperitif we moved onto the pâté en croûte tradition which redefined what can be a tired dish with the gelée de Porto et Madère. We appreciated the genuinely Burgundian portion (but regretted it later). The carpaccio de veau, vinaigrette aux câpres capron avec parmesan was substantial and interesting. Not on a par with the marvellous pâté en croûte though. Since this was a lunch we both ordered fish: one filet de dorade and the other the merlu en croûte de riz soufflé, bouillon de crevettes grises à la citronnelle. As often happens with the best French restaurants, it is the accompanying ingredients that star not the focus of the dish. The bouillon de crevettes was intense and spicy. Meanwhile the gnocchis de pommes de terre à l’estragon were consumed without pause by a non-potato eater and the caviar d’aubergine stretched the potential of this grand vegetable with the waiter claiming it was nothing but an overn-roasted aubergine with salt and pepper. To finish the sorbets of cassis and framboise as well as a caramel ice cream were divinely cooling on a very hot summer day. The only semi-success was the melon and crème citron sur un biscuit pain de Gênes. We'd had superior melon the day before from the Chalon-sur-Saone market and the biscuit was chewy. Throw in a half bottle of Saint-Romain and a bottle of the much-improved (less salty) Badoit and one can hardly believe it is legally possible to serve such sublime food for 45 euro a head with impeccable service. Just one problem, the wine list is exceptionally short for such a fine restaurant. The door is half-ajar to paying a droit de bouchon but the ten or so Côte Chalonnaise wines and a smattering of Côte d'Or wines do not cut the mustard.

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